US presidential campaigns advertising in Madden NFL 13 and online games

In 2008 the Obama campaign advertised in 18 video games during the US presidential race. This year, President Obama is continuing his run of in-game advertising, with ads appearing in Madden NFL 13, free online game site, and mobile games like Tetris.

According to a report on, video games are seeing a spike in political messages in the lead-up to November US presidential election. A spokesperson for the Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, said his campaign has also advertised in video games, although no information was provided on which games the ads appeared in.

NPR reports that many of the political ads are targeted at a specific demographic. As most of the games that feature the advertisements are played online, advertisers can home in on players in districts where the ads will be most effective.

Indiana University's Patrick Walsh, who studies political ads in video games, says that many in-game campaigns are more effective at reaching young males than advertising in TV spots.

"You have someone there that's captive; they're typically not multitasking; they're typically just playing the game," Walsh says. "So they're not on their computer, they're not on their phone, and it's a very desirable demographic."

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